President Barack Obama recently signed legislation that will assist heirs who trying to recover artwork lost to Nazi looting during World War II. The legislation extends the statutes of limitations for the recovery.
In recent years, courts have sided with several museums and blocked families who believed art within the institution was looted from them. Earlier this year, for example, a judge ruled in favor of a Southern California museum over the ownership of two German Renaissance masterpieces that were seized by the Nazis during WWII The judge said that because the art dealership decided not to seek restitution for the works after the war, the family thereby abandoned its claim to the art.
In 2009, the United States and other countries, however, agreed to ensure that their own legal systems “facilitate just and fair solutions with regard to Nazi-confiscated and looted art.” The new legislation aims to fulfill that promise.